We are excited to introduce an ongoing series of Day in the Life Features from some of our fabulous contributors. These blog posts will take you through an average day of some of the top photographers in the industry.
Today we are pleased to feature Sarah Wilkerson from Clickin Moms. Enjoy ~
I set three iPhone alarms in the morning — 6:48, 7:02, 7:20. I’m simply not a morning person, and I can’t be trusted not to snooze the first one (or two) away. This morning, I reluctantly leave the warmth of the blankets with 7:02’s cheerful chime and trudge downstairs. My early bird boys are already up, dressed, and eating strawberry waffles. I pack and dole out lunches, check my email for urgent items, and then head back up to get myself ready.
At 7:50, two year old Stella is still curled up in bed (like her mom, she prefers to sleep in). “It’s time to take your brothers to school,” I whisper. I wrangle her into a sundress, and she drowsily covers her blonde tangles with a favorite hat.
7:55 is load up time. Everyone does a final check for backpacks, jackets, lunches, and folders. Five seatbelts click tight, and we’re on our way.
The Army transplants us every couple of years, and at this post, I’m grateful for kiss-and-go drop-off at an elementary school less than a half mile away. We roll up to the curb, and the boys unbuckle to wait for their turn to hop out.
Stella and I return to the stillness of the empty kitchen at 8:10. It always feels a little lonely when the boys are away, so we set about to keep busy.
I toss in a load of laundry and steam the wrinkles out of the load I forgot in the dryer yesterday. Stella fervently scribbles out new works of art while I match socks and fold soccer shorts, and then we head back downstairs.
It’s 8:30a, and caffeine is overdue. This is my morning indulgence: I heat my kettle to 209, pour freshly roasted beans into the grinder, brew, and mix with steamed milk, dark chocolate, and lavender syrup; the importance of coffee in my day can’t be overestimated.
With mocha in hand, the work day begins. Our morning playlist reverberates through the room while Stella happily fills up on Cheerios and sliced bananas, and I set my laptop at the kitchen table beside her. I knock out any emails that can be completed in two minutes or less, convert those that require longer replies into tasks, and transfer ideas and to-dos into our project manager. I review my calendar for the day’s meetings, and then I tackle today’s to-do list, which I prepared the night before. Aside from scheduled meetings, my day has very limited predictability, so I try to make a dent in deadline-driven items before the whirlwind begins. In Clickin Moms’ telecommuting environment, chat has replaced both the office pop-in and company watercooler, and starting around 9:00, the team chat-room lights up with messages.
I have a conference call at noon. This is when the good fortune of working at home really shines, because meetings at home often permit active multitasking: during a call, Stella and I might take a walk, pick up the house, empty the dishwasher, or even get a little exercise (I have a balance beam in the house just for work calls!). Today, I chop and sauté fresh veggies for lunch during a team brainstorm session.
Switching up my environment during the day helps to refresh my focus, and after lunch, I move from the kitchen table to my office desktop and, between dogs, snacks, more coffee, potty-training, and Daniel Tiger, continue to chip away at my list.
At 2:00, we head over to the school to get a good spot in the pickup line. It’s an hour long wait, so during this time, I usually schedule meetings or bring a notebook to plan, brainstorm, outline articles, or think through problems on paper — something about the shift from a computer screen sometimes brings forth unexpected and powerful ideas.
We get home around 3:10. The boys unload, share their days, and wrap up homework right away. By the time pencils are down and folders close, the cozy aroma of Jack’s chocolate chip cookies has filled the kitchen. It’s our favorite part of the day: the warm and bustling opposite of the post drop-off morning.
The boys take to Minecraft to unwind, and I get back to work. As golden light passes through the room, I find myself picking up the camera around this time if I don’t have a late afternoon meeting. Today, though, it’s a call, and since the air hasn’t chilled yet, I walk laps in the backyard while Stella plucks little yellow flowers.
Around 6:00, the dogs begin their faithful vigil by the side door. My husband arrives home shortly thereafter, and everyone heads outside to play frisbee (which ends with my jumping the back fence to retrieve an overzealous throw). The doorbell announces dinner at 7 — after a busy day, pad thai is a good bet.
At 7:30, it’s time to scrub clean, brush teeth, and read another chapter of The Lightning Thief before bed. Three boys pile into the bottom bunk: all arms, legs, blankets, and pillows.
The kids (well, most of them) are tucked in by 8:00, and my husband and I catch up on our days, have a spirited crossword war, and watch an episode of Veep. By 10:00pm, Stella has fallen asleep next to me, and we take her up to bed. I get into pajamas, make myself another latte, and settle into the couch with my laptop. Late night is a great work window for me — a precious block of uninterrupted time. I tackle the unfinished items on today’s to-do list and, on rare occasions, make a dent in my “Later” list of goals and projects. If I have critiques, articles, or interviews to write, I put on my headphones and get in the zone with Lute Suites or my favorite cover song mix on Spotify. For less creative tasks, it’s a medley of Bravo and whatever’s new on the DVR.
Around 1:45am, it’s time to start shutting things down. Though my day is always filled with unexpected craziness, the morning and evening rituals are consistent. I reach a stopping point on the current task item, type up tomorrow’s to-do list, brush my teeth, and head down the hall to the kitchen to line up three little paper bags and lay out the school lunch spread. I set three alarms on my phone, ease into bed next to Stella (who’s usually sleeping perpendicular to dad and hogging all the covers), and fall asleep almost instantly.
~ Stay tuned for more Q&A posts from our wonderful contributing photographers.
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Duke graduate and former attorney Sarah Wilkerson joined Clickin Moms as a member in 2008 and quickly became a leader in the community. In 2010, she held CM’s first forum-based workshop and spearheaded the development of CMuniversity, an online photography school that provides educational programming to over 2000 photographers each month.Together with Kendra, Sarah has led the evolution of the company’s mission, program development, and position within the greater photography community. She currently resides in Virginia with her Army JAG husband, three sons, one daughter, and two dogs. Sarah shoots with a Nikon D4, enjoys tilt-shift and atmospheric black and white work, and instructs CMU’s upper level composition courses (Elements of Design and Composition and Creativity). In her free time, Sarah loves research and writing, lattes, mojitos, flip flops, and reality tv.
Perhaps your anxieties are internal? The fear of failing at that which is most dear to you? Or the terror of living with regrets that can never be remedied?